RBS Lynk Hires Two U.S. Sales Executives

Atlanta-based RBS Lynk has hired Greg Leos, previously with Moneris Solutions, and Theo Rokos formerly with Wolters Kluwer, as SVP/Sales for, respectively, the Eastern and Western U.S. regions. While at Moneris, Leos was responsible for national sales and relationship management. During 12 years in the acquiring industry, he has managed sales teams at Wells Fargo Merchant Services, Global Payments and JCB Credit cards. At Wolters Kluwer, an international publisher, Rokos ran the western region sales operations and previously managed sales teams for Scantron, a leader in data collection, testing and assessment systems. RBS Lynk is a leading, single-source provider of electronic payment processing services.

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MasterCard Uses Pod Busters in a TV Show

MasterCard and NBC Universal have teamed to create a unique marketing event that provides viewers of the NBC drama “Life” with inside information on the conspiracy surrounding lead character Charlie Crews. Through a series of “pod busters” (a marketing initiative designed to increase viewer engagement during commercial breaks) “Life” viewers can watch custom-created video that offers additional evidence unseen in the show. The MasterCard “Uncovering Evidence of Life” “pod busters” will air for a total of six consecutive episodes, ending November 7. The MasterCard “pod busters” are promoted on air, as well as in print and online advertising.

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Fair Isaac Intros Collection Scores

A new suite of predictive scores software has been unveiled that will fine-tune lenders’ ability to prioritize accounts in early stage collections for both card and loan portfolios, and late stages for card portfolios. The new “Collection Scores” from Fair Isaac enables credit grantors to assign the appropriate strategy with the right amount of collection effort, resulting in increased total collections, lower charge-offs and better utilization of resources that directly impact the lenders’ bottom line. The “Collection Scores” also enable lenders to improve customer service by identifying likely ‘self-cures’ and preventing potentially upsetting collector calls to a client’s best customers.

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Retailers Slash Holiday Prices Early

With holiday sales projected to rise 3% this season retailers have already begun aggressive discounting. However, gift card sales are expected to exceed $35 billion this holiday season. Archstone Consulting says this year’s holiday sales will barely keep pace with the projected inflation rate of 2.7%. Last week Wal-Mart announced it has cut prices on its “Top 12 Toys of Christmas” from 10%-50%. Archstone noted that consumer disposable income has grown, but at a slower rate than last year (5.7% vs. 6.3%). Only four times in the past 10 years has the retail sales growth rate for November and December exceeded the annual disposable personal income growth rate. The research firm says it does not believe that the retail sales growth will exceed the disposable personal income growth rate during this year’s holiday season.

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Two-Thirds of Small Biz Bank/Shop Online

A new survey has found that 64% of U.S. small businesses bank and shop online. Of those small businesses that shop online, 33% cited convenience and the availability of a secure payment option as the key to online commerce. In a survey commissioned by eBillme and conducted by Market Platform Dynamics, revealed that small businesses said that a payment option that did not require use or disclosure of credit card information, as well as an option that gave them more control over the purchasing and approval process would spur online confidence and increase purchases. The survey also found that the small businesses who are not shopping online are not necessarily Internet-averse. Many maintain other online relationships, and the majority do their banking online.

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PRUDENTIAL CONSUMER FINANCE

Prudential financial services has launched the “Prudential Vietnam Finance
Company”, a consumer finance business in Vietnam, for consumers.
The new branch will provide personal loans, mortgages and credit cards,
the first of foreign institutions to do so in the country, and will be
based in
Ho Chi Minh City. The Prudential Group is already a leading life insurer
and fund manager in Vietnam with $1.3 billion in funds and the largest
market share. Prudential’s business in Asia is headquartered in Hong Kong
and is the largest Europe-based life insurer in the region with
operations in
12 markets and 360,000 on staff.

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MobiClear Adds a New Board Member

Currently, Mr. Ung serves as independent director of both Transpacific Broadband Group International and Federal Chemicals. Ung is one of the founders and directors of the Board of Bastion Payment Systems Corporation (BPSC), a premier provider of card acquiring services, fraud management software and other related services. Bastion utilizes its in-house research and development team to develop proprietary payment solutions and systems for card processing and acquiring, card fraud management, merchant management and boarding, merchant risk control and identification, and web site payment page hosting. Ung has a Master of Business Administration from the Ivey School of Business. MobiClear specializes in electronic Personal Identification Verification (PIV) solutions in connection with credit/debit card transactions.

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AUG DEBT

Credit card outstandings declined during August by GBP 100 million to GBP 53.4 billion. This is the sixth straight monthly drop and remains well below the December 2005 peak of GBP 59.0 billion. Year-on-year credit card outstandings (not seasonally adjusted) are running about 4% lower than one-year ago. According to the The Bank of England, the increase in net consumer credit in August GBP 1.0 billion was below the increase in July. Net other loans and advances rose by GBP 0.9 billion, broadly in line with the increase in July. Both the annual growth rate and the three-month annualised growth rate of consumer credit increased by 0.2 percentage points, to 5.5% and 6.1% respectively.

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Debit Cards Positioned to Lead All Payments

A new report has found that U.S. debit card volume continues to grow even as consumer deposits hit record lows, now growing at a compound annual growth rate between 17% and 18%. The study reveals that transactions for U.S. debit cards surged three times faster than those for credit cards from 2005 to 2007, which grew a 5% CAGR. The TowerGroup research also noted the payments industry is on the brink of socializing contactless payment forms, therefore debit card issuers can position their cards for increased use to resolve the ongoing challenge of high penetration (80% of consumers) and low activation (60%). TowerGroup says that the debit card’s dominant position as a payment card will continue through 2009. Economic drivers such as consumer confidence, employment, and tightened credit might further widen the gap between payment types. Debit card POS configurations, PIN, and SIG will grow linearly.

US PAYMENTS CAGR (2005-2007)
Check -9%
Cash 0%
Credit Card 5%
ACH 13%
Sig Debit 17%
PIN Debit 18%
Source: TowerGroup

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Foreign Travel

Given the significance of the French credit card market, and subsequent
consumer debt, Debt Resolve has announced plans to introduce online
collection products to the market. With the second largest credit card
volume in Europe of $350 billion, France has a current consumer debt of
nearly EUR1.2 trillion. In response, Debt Resolve will provides lenders,
collection agencies, debt buyers and utilities with an online bidding
system
for the resolution and settlement of consumer debt. The Invest in France
Agency (IFA) promotes and facilitates international investment in France.

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Quick Start Program Launched for e-Port

PA-based USA Technologies has added a no money down program that enables vending machine operators and bottlers a quick option to add the convenience of credit and debit cards to their machines. The new “Quick Start” purchasing program is for USAT’s “e-Port” services which accepts magnetic swipe and contactless credit and debit cards, and “Near Field Communications” technology that accepts payment using cellular telephones and other wireless payment systems. The “Quick Start” program is structured so a vending operator or bottler pays only $24.95 per month for the “e-Port” device and full “e-Port Connect” services over a pre-determined period. Last month, USAT reported that NH-based Fantasy Entertainment, a major supplier of photo and imaging kiosks, has equipped 1,000 of its self-service photo booths nationwide with the “e-Port” cashless payment technology. (CF Library 9/27/07)

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